Early nerve damage caused by repetitive strain injuries can trigger "sick worker" syndrome -- characterized by malaise, fatigue and depression, and often mistaken for poor performance, according to a study by Ann Barr, Ph.D., and Mary Barbe, Ph.D., at Temple Universitys College of Health Professions. The study, "Increase in inflammatory cytokines in median nerves in a rat model of repetitive motion injury," is published this month in the Journal of Neuroimmunology.
Repetitive strain injuries are the nations most common and costly occupational health problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of American workers and costing more than $20 billion a year in workers compensation, so employers have long been interested in the connection between the two conditions.
The purpose of the study was to observe early changes in nerves caused by repetitive strain that lead to chronic pain and eventual degenerative problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tennis elbow or other serious neural and musculoskeletal injuries. The Temple researchers hope the findings could one day lead to early intervention techniques that would prevent permanent damage.
Eryn Jelesiewicz | EurekAlert!
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